Studying for two years in my home country, Cyprus, and living with my family had both its advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, I never felt alone and didn’t have to care much about what I was going to eat or do the Laundry. On the other hand, I couldn’t experience a typical “student life” which I had heard so much about. However, it didn’t bother me because I always had at the back of my mind the plan of going on “study abroad”. Of course, when the time came, taking that big decision, and leaving my most beloved people behind was more difficult than my expectations. Though thinking that it will be only for a semester, and having heard so many amazing stories of people coming back from Erasmus gave me the courage to start this wonderful journey. In addition, being an English Studies student, I wouldn’t miss the chance of studying in UK and especially in Leeds.
In September 2016 I found myself in Leeds. I first arrived at the coach station and as soon as I stepped out my attention was caught by the beautiful colourful painting on the wall of the outdoor market next to the coach station which said “Hello & Welcome to Leeds”. I immediately felt a part of my fears and anxiety going away, as if the whole city was welcoming me and the colours of the wall were just a first taste of this vibrant and beautiful city.
My next stop was the University of Leeds; I finally saw the Parkinson’s Building’s iconic clock tower up close, it was so beautiful, and so was the whole campus. It combined both classical and modern buildings; I was amazed by the fact that it was so much bigger than the campus of my home University. Every time I went there I discovered a new place!
After only half a day in Leeds I was sure that my stay there would be full of unforgettable experiences, and indeed it was. During the first weeks, I met so many people from so many different countries that I wouldn’t have met during a lifetime. I travelled around the UK and saw magnificent places. Most importantly I gained life experiences, from sharing a house with people I had never met before to travelling within a foreign country on my own. Every minute in Leeds was something new to me.
The first impression I had from Leeds came true. I discovered that it’s a “colourful” city combining different cultures, modern with classic, with vibrant night life with peaceful nature, a city suitable for any kind of taste. And above all, a city which welcomes all its visitors and especially students.
They say that the first impression is the most important and although I cannot describe to you my exact first impression of Leeds, as words are not enough, I will tell you one thing: that impression and the whole experience I lived during the first semester led me to extend my stay here for the second semester as well! My first days in Leeds were a mixture of different emotions and created memories that I will always have in my heart.
by Marita Arajian – Cyprus University – Cyprus